Disclosure of contact details of the judges of SC /HC under RTI
The appellant sought information regarding the contact details of the judges of the Supreme Court of India and the Chief Justices of the High Courts. He also wanted information about the public interest litigations filed in the Supreme Court. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the contact details under section 8(1)(g) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; and 8(1 )(j) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. For the information regarding the public interest litigations, the PIO observed that the desired information was not available in the form in which it had been sought.
During the hearing, the respondents submitted that the idea of facilitating public contact with the judges by revealing their contact numbers and other details in the public domain would be repugnant to the concept of preserving the independence and objectivity of the judges. The appellant requested that he wanted the number of public interest litigations filed, subject wise. The PIO stated that the Supreme Court did not maintain statistics of the public interest litigations (PILs) under subject heads and since thousands of such cases are filed every year, finding out the content of each such litigation to determine its subject matter would almost be impossible.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal observing that the contact numbers of the judges of the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts should not be placed in the public domain not only because it might be misused to bring about undue pressure on them or to interfere with their functioning but also because it might pose a threat to their safety. The Commission also noted that the Supreme Court does not hold the type of statistics that the appellant wants.
The contact details of the government servants are liable for pro-active disclosure. However, the CIC has held that in certain circumstances, the same may be denied to a citizen.
Citation: Mr. Sumit Kumar Rai v. Supreme Court of India in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002130 & 2245
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/528
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